Saudi Arabia shoots down ballistic missile from Yemen

Saudi Arabia said it shot down a ballistic missile fired by Shiite rebels and their allies in Yemen during the kingdom’s National Day.

A statement carried early Sunday by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the missile targeted Khamis Mushait, a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia that is home to the King Khalid Air Base.

The statement said the missile “was intercepted and destroyed without any casualties” and Saudi forces later attacked the missile’s launch site inside of Yemen.

The attack came as Saudi Arabia celebrated its national day across the kingdom with a raucous display of concerts, folk dance and fireworks.

A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis in Yemen since March 2015.

Occasional ballistic missile attacks, as well as more frequent short-range rocket fire over the southern border, have in the past been conducted after coalition airstrikes against the rebels.

The Houthis and their allies have access to a stockpile of Soviet-era Scud missiles and locally designed variants.

Last week, the head of the rebels threatened to fire missiles at the United Arab Emirates and to attack Saudi tankers in the Red Sea.

The Houthi rebels and their allies, former members of Yemen’s security forces linked to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, began retaliatory attacks against the kingdom two years ago.

The war has killed more than 10,000 civilians. The United Nations has criticized Saudi-led airstrikes for killing civilians.

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